Archive for the ‘Litigation’ category

On Earth Day, citizens all around the world make a concerted effort to reflect upon their relationship with nature, and collectively share what specific actions we can take to protect our planet against threats such as air and water pollution, deforestation, species decline, extreme weather events, and more — all of which are exacerbated by climate change.

The “Rights of Nature” movement is fundamentally rethinking humanity’s relationship with nature, and it is gaining momentum. It is led by activists advocating for ecosystems such as rivers, lakes, and mountains to bear legal rights in the same, or at least a similar, manner as human beings. This movement is striving for a paradigm shift in which nature is placed at the center and humans are connected to it in an interdependent way, rather than a dominant one. How would such a legal system work, and could giving rights to nature help in the legal battle against climate change? A few case studies offer some insight.

FEATURED CASE
 
Second Circuit Rejected New York City’s State Law Climate Claims Against Oil Companies
 
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of New York City’s lawsuit seeking climate change damages from oil companies. The Second Circuit’s decision largely followed the reasoning of the district court’s 2018 decision. First, the Second Circuit held that federal common law displaced the City’s state-law public nuisance, private nuisance, and trespass claims because the lawsuit would regulate cross-border greenhouse gas emissions, albeit “in an indirect and roundabout manner,” and because state law claims “would further risk upsetting the careful balance that has been struck between the prevention of global warming, a project that necessarily requires national standards and global participation, on the one hand, and energy production, economic growth, foreign policy, and national security, on the other.” The Second Circuit then held that the Clean Air Act, in turn, displaced federal common law claims related to domestic emissions. The Second Circuit cited American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 564 U.S. 410 (2011), as establishing “beyond cavil” that the Clean Air Act displaced federal common law nuisance suits to abate domestic transboundary greenhouse gas emissions, and found that Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012), provided “sound reasoning” for determining that the Clean Air Act also displaced federal common law damages claims. The Second Circuit also rejected New York City’s contention that the Clean Air Act’s displacement of federal common law claims resuscitated its state law common law claims. Finally, the Second Circuit held that although the Clean Air Act did not displace New York’s federal common law claims addressing emissions outside the United States, foreign policy concerns foreclosed such claims. The Second Circuit said holding the oil companies liable for “purely foreign activity” would “sow confusion and needlessly complicate the nation’s foreign policy, while clearly infringing on the prerogatives of the political branches.” City of New York v. BP p.l.c., No. 18-2188 (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2021).

By Margaret Barry and Korey Silverman-Roati   Each month, Arnold & Porter and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law collect and summarize developments in climate-related litigation, which we also add to our U.S. and non-U.S. climate litigation charts. If you know of any cases we have missed, please email us at columbiaclimate@gmail.com.       HERE ARE THE […]

By Margaret Barry and Korey Silverman-Roati   Each month, Arnold & Porter and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law collect and summarize developments in climate-related litigation, which we also add to our U.S. and non-U.S. climate litigation charts.  If you know of any cases we have missed, please email us at columbiaclimate@gmail.com.     HERE ARE THE ADDITIONS […]

By Daniel J. Metzger Countries around the world are increasingly setting national emissions reductions targets and articulating policy objectives to address climate change impacts. As they do, a broad set of actors are turning to courts to seek enforcement of existing climate laws, to articulate clearer definitions of climate rights, to ask for compensation for […]

By Margaret Barry and Korey Silverman-Roati Each month, Arnold & Porter and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law collect and summarize developments in climate-related litigation, which we also add to our U.S. and non-U.S. climate litigation charts.  If you know of any cases we have missed, please email us at columbiaclimate@gmail.com.   HERE ARE THE ADDITIONS TO […]

By Melinda Janki* In a climate litigation win, the High Court of the Supreme Court of Guyana accepted a settlement between a scientist, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Guyana, and Esso (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil) to limit the company’s environmental permits to produce oil from more than 23 years to five years. Guyanese scientist […]

By Margaret Barry and Korey Silverman-Roati Each month, Arnold & Porter and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law collect and summarize developments in climate-related litigation, which we also add to our U.S. and non-U.S. climate litigation charts.  If you know of any cases we have missed, please email us at columbiaclimate@gmail.com. HERE ARE THE ADDITIONS TO THE CLIMATE CASE CHART SINCE UPDATE […]

By Margaret Barry and Korey Silverman-Roati Each month, Arnold & Porter and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law collect and summarize developments in climate-related litigation, which we also add to our U.S. and non-U.S. climate litigation charts.  If you know of any cases we have missed, please email us at columbiaclimate@gmail.com. HERE ARE THE ADDITIONS TO THE CLIMATE CASE CHART SINCE […]

By Daniel J. Metzger Climate change attribution science provides the evidentiary basis for establishing that anthropogenic climate change is real, that it is already here, and that predicted future changes must be taken seriously. Faced with this growing body of research, courts, policy-makers, and private actors are addressing critical and urgent legal questions, such as […]

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This blog provides a forum for legal and policy analysis on a variety of climate-related issues. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Climate Change Law.

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